In today’s reading we find three subjects that would make wonderful topics to blog about. In Numbers 12 we have the account of Aaron and Miriam speaking out against Moses and how God intervened on Moses’ behalf. In Mark 14:27-53 we have the account of Jesus praying in the garden and the betrayal by Judas. Both of those events have so much to teach us, but I feel that I should focus today’s blog on Numbers 13 & 14.
How could it happen? Had they not spent years praying for a deliverer to come and lead them out of bondage? Didn’t they witness the plagues that fell upon their captors? Could they have forgotten seeing Pharos’ army being swallowed by the sea that God had parted to provide them safe passage? They had eaten manna, drank water from the rock, and caught the quail God provided. Did they forget how the face of Moses looked after he had been in the presence of God? Wasn’t the cloud or the pillar of fire still dwelling in their camp? Now they stood within sight of the Promised Land, a land that all agreed was flowing with milk and honey, and wept saying, “If only we had died in Egypt!
Or in this desert! We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
This was the hour that they were being required to see themselves in a very different light. They had spent generations living as slaves and although they hated their bonds they could not see themselves as warriors. All the great things they had witnessed, all the things God had done in their behalf were things done for them but now God was wanting to do things through them. It was time for them to ‘get a little skin in the game.’
It is easy for us to sit back and be critical of the Israelites, but we are not so different. Although we may not wish to admit it, we are not so far from our bonds either. While we may no longer be in chains we struggle with seeing ourselves as being warriors. For so long we have been comfortable in allowing God to work on our behalf, but what happens when it comes our time to ‘get a little skin in the game?’ Will we see our limitations and recount all our inadequacies or revisit our failures. Will be fearful because we have never done anything like this before? Or will we rise up like Joshua and Caleb who said “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. (14:8) If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. (14:9) Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
Be strong, be courageous! Get ready to be amazed! It is no longer a question of what God can do for you but rather what can God do through you?